As a child, one of my biggest dreams was to visit the United States. I held onto that dream with unwavering determination, knowing that one day I would see it come true. Setting off from Manila Airport on May 4, I embarked on a journey that would take me to the other side of the world. Thanks to the time difference, it felt like magic when I arrived in the US on the very same day.
Choosing Japan Airlines for my flight, I flew from Manila to Los Angeles, with a brief layover in Tokyo Narita lasting 2.5 hours. It was my first time flying with JAL, and I must say, it was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed. The flight was incredibly smooth, and I was delighted by the sumptuous inflight meals that surpassed my expectations.
@escapemanila Sharing with you the travel expenses I incurred during mg recent 10-day trip to the US! Check my bio to read the full details. #usa #travel ♬ So Much Happiness – Lux-Inspira
10-Day USA itinerary & Expenses
Day 0: Departure from Manila
I embarked on a Japan Airlines flight from Manila to Los Angeles, with a brief 2.5-hour layover at Tokyo Narita. My travel arrangements were made using a multi-city ticket, with Los Angeles serving as the entry point and Vancouver as the departure city for my return journey to Manila, with a connecting flight through Narita.
- Flight Cost: Php52,000 – it would have been cheaper by around 5k if I had a Manila-LA- Manila ticket. You can find cheap flights here for your next trip. The best way to find cheap flight tickets is to book your tickets as early as possible. Prices tend to rise as your travel date approaches, so book in advance to secure the best prices!
- Travel Insurance: Php1,896
- US Visa Cost: Php9,280 [How to Apply for a US Tourist Visa in the Philippines]
Day 1: Arrival in Los Angeles
Upon my arrival in Los Angeles at approximately 11:00 am, I made a spontaneous decision to forgo the conventional Uber or taxi option. Instead, I opted to embark on an adventure by taking the FlyAway Bus, which transported me to LAX Union Station. From there, I hopped on a train that would take me directly to my hostel. Once I had completed the check-in process, I wasted no time and set out to explore the captivating Griffith Observatory. Of course, a visit to this iconic landmark wouldn’t be complete without capturing a memorable photograph with the renowned Hollywood sign as a backdrop.
- FlyAway Bus: USD9.75
- 2-day Metro pass USD9.00
- Dinner: USD11 – didn’t take lunch since I was still full from the inflight meal I had during the flight
- Hostel for two nights in Hollywood, LA: USD120.00 [Orange Drive Hostel in Hollywood]
Day 2: Explore Los Angeles
I spent the day exploring the bustling city of Los Angeles, taking my time to wander around and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. I made sure to visit several museums and popular tourist spots, immersing myself in the rich culture and history of the city. Of course, I couldn’t miss the chance to check out the iconic Santa Monica Pier, where I enjoyed the lively atmosphere and took in the scenic views. From there, I continued my adventure to the famous Venice Beach, where I soaked up the unique vibe and had a memorable time.
- Breakfast: USD5
- Lunch: USD11.45
- Grocery: USD6
- Dinner: USD10
All transportation cost was covered by the metro pass I bought the day I arrived in LA.
Day 3: Walk around Holywood + Fly to Boston
With my flight to Boston scheduled for the afternoon, I took advantage of the morning to explore the captivating streets of Hollywood. Additionally, I couldn’t resist the allure of Universal Studios Hollywood, so I made sure to include it in my itinerary. However, as luck would have it, I underestimated the time it would take to reach Hollywood Burbank Airport using public transportation. Consequently, I ended up taking the metro to North Hollywood and then relied on an Uber to transport me the rest of the way to the airport.
- Brunch at In N Out: USD8.71
- Additional Metro Day Pass: USD3.50
- Uber from NoHo to Burbank Airport: USD14
- Bottled water at the airport: USD4.8
- Dinner at Tostada in Salt Lake Airport: USD10
- Flight Cost LA to Boston: Free – I used the Skymiles I earned with my BPI credit card, I only paid for the baggage fee. The flight cost would have been Php11,000.
- Baggage Fee: USD30.00
Travel tip: If you are flying from LA to another city in the US, check out flights from Burbank instead of LAX, it might be cheaper.
Day 4: Explore Boston
Upon my arrival in Boston at approximately 6:00 am, with just a single day to explore the city, I made a practical decision to save time by opting for an Uber ride to the hotel rather than relying on a bus or shuttle. Traveling with a friend this time allowed us to share certain expenses, including the cost of hotel accommodation. By splitting the costs, we were able to make the most of our short stay in Boston and maximize our exploration time.
We visited many attractions in the city using a Boston CityPASS and since we have very limited time, we just used Uber to get around.
|Museum of Science||9:00 AM|
|Harvard Museum of Natural History||10:00 AM|
|Explore Harvard University||11:30 AM|
|New England Aquarium||2:20 PM|
|Boston City Harbor Cruise||4:00 PM|
- Hotel: USD145/2 with breakfast [Ramada by Wyndham Boston]
- Boston CityPASS – complimentary but would have cost USD79
- Ice cream: USD7.00
- Uber: USD110/2 in total
- Dinner: USD10.00
- Water: USD2.50
Day 5: Train to New York / Visit Times Square
We bid farewell to Boston around 10 am and reached the bustling city of New York at approximately 2:30 pm. Initially, we had planned to take an Uber for our transportation needs, but upon discovering the exorbitant prices, we opted for a more budget-friendly alternative – the subway. Surprisingly, the subway system turned out to be not only cost-effective but also incredibly convenient, allowing us to navigate the city with ease.
After checking in at Holiday Inn Express in Brooklyn and freshening up, we once again hopped on the subway to embark on an exciting visit to the iconic Times Square. Thanks to the hotel’s proximity to a subway station, we found it incredibly convenient to explore the city and move around efficiently.
- Uber from hotel to train station: USD14/2
- Train from Boston to New York: USD62
- Hotel for 3 nights in NY with breakfast: USD590/2 [Holiday Inn Express – NYC Brooklyn – Sunset Park]
- Subway to hotel: USD2.75
- Subway hotel to Times Square: USD2.75
- Dinner: USD20.00
- Subway back to the hotel: USD2.75
Day 6: Explore New York
I initially planned of waking up early and explore Central Park before heading to the Empire State but I was just too tired so I decided to go straight to the Empire State Building after breakfast at the hotel.
I highly recommend getting a New York CityPASS so you can save money on ticket admission to popular tourist attractions in New York.
|New York Itinerary||Day 2|
|Empire State||9:00 AM|
|Circle Line Sightseeing Cruises||12:30 PM|
|American Museum of Natural History||3:00 PM|
|Central Park||5:00 PM|
|MET Museum||6:30 PM|
|Back to Hotel||7:00 PM|
|Bryant Park & Times Square||10:00 PM|
- New York City Pass: complimentary but would have cost USD138.00
- Grocery: USD10.00
- Snacks: USD12.00
- Birthday Dinner: USD87.00
- Subway ticket for the whole day: USD 13.75
Day 7: Explore New York
After a delightful breakfast at the hotel, I hopped on the subway to commence my day’s adventures at the Rockefeller Center. My primary destination was the mesmerizing Top of the Rock Observation Deck, where I relished the breathtaking panoramic views of the cityscape. Subsequently, I made my way to Battery Park in Manhattan, utilizing a combination of subway and bus transportation, to embark on an unforgettable journey to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.
Eager to delve further into the city’s wonders, I proceeded to explore New York’s Financial Center, venturing along the iconic Wall Street and catching a glimpse of the New York Stock Exchange. I took a moment to pay my respects at the solemn and poignant 9/11 Memorial, honoring the memory of those lost. To conclude my day filled with remarkable experiences, I embarked on a memorable stroll across the iconic Brooklyn Bridge, taking in the awe-inspiring views and immersing myself in the captivating energy of this architectural masterpiece.
|Breakfast at Hotel||7:00 AM|
|Top of the Rock Observation Deck||9:00 AM|
|Statue of Liberty||12:00 PM|
|Financial Center – Manhattan||3:00 PM|
|911 Memorial||4:00 PM|
|Brooklyn Bridge||6:00 PM|
- Lunch at Chick-Fil-A: USD14
- Grocery: USD12
- Subway for the whole day USD11
- Ref Magnets: USD10
- Dinner: USD15
Day 8: Train to Washington DC / Explore DC
Our departure from New York to Washington, DC was scheduled for approximately 11:30 am. However, unforeseen issues led to a delay of over an hour, resulting in our arrival at Washington DC Union Station past 4:00 pm. Unfortunately, this delay caused us to miss the Library of Congress Tour, which we had previously booked for free.
To reach our hotel in Arlington, Virginia, we opted to take the metro from Union Station to Pentagon City. From there, we relied on an Uber to transport us to our accommodation. After checking in and freshening up, we wasted no time and made our way to the illustrious US Capitol Building, eager to explore its grandeur.
With hunger pangs starting to kick in, we made our way to Washington DC’s vibrant Chinatown and indulged in a delightful dinner at a Chinese restaurant. The delectable flavors and the lively atmosphere of Chinatown added an extra touch of excitement to our evening.
- Subway to NY Penn Station: USD2.75
- Train from NY to Washington DC: USD31
- Lunch on the train: USD10.50
- Metro Card + load: USD12.00
- Uber from the train station to the hotel in Arlington: USD13/2
- Hotel for 2 nights in Arlington with breakfast: USD240/2 [Hotel Pentagon]
- Uber hotel to Capitol Hill: USD14/2
- Uber Capitol Hill to Chinatown: USD10/2
- Dinner: USD23
- Uber back to the hotel: USD13/2
Day 9: Explore Washington DC
Our day began a little later than anticipated, and we found ourselves making our way to the renowned National Air and Space Museum around 10:00 am. Immerse in the awe-inspiring exhibits and fascinating displays, we delved into the world of aviation and space exploration.
Following our time at the museum, we continued our exploration by venturing toward the iconic Washington Monument. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to go up to the viewing deck as all slots were already filled. You need to book way in advance to get the free tour.
With the remainder of the day at our disposal, we leisurely strolled through the captivating streets of Washington, D.C., allowing ourselves to get lost in its charm. From the grandeur of historical landmarks to the quaint corners of the city, we relished every moment, taking in the vibrant atmosphere and immersing ourselves in the rich history and culture that Washington, D.C. had to offer.
- Uber to National Air and Space Museum: USD15/2
- Snacks: USD6.00
- Lunch at Panda Express: USD14
- Water: 2.50
- Dinner: USD10.00
Day 10: Fly to Liberia, Costa Rica
We had an early morning flight from Washington Dulles Airport to Liberia, Costa Rica.
- Uber to Airport: USD46/2
- Breakfast at the airport: USD11
Next Stop: COSTA RICA
10-Day in the US Total Expenses
- Flight Ticket: Php52,000
- Travel Insurance: Php1,896 (31 days including my trip to other parts of America North/Central)
- Visa Cost: Php9,280
- Accommodation: Php34,000
- Food + Grocery: Php19,200
- Transportation around the US (train, bus, Uber, plane within the US): Php29,300
- Tours (CityPASS): Php12,150
Grand Total: Php157,828
- Complimentary CityPASS: -Php12,150
- Flight Cost from LA to Boston (used my Delta Skymiles): -Php11,000
Total Cash Spent: Php134,678
Please take note that most hotels and Uber rides were on a sharing basis so the costs are divided by two. If you are traveling solo, expect to spend more.
Got any questions? Let me know in the comment section below.
Glen Nomad is a travel blogger and the founder of Escape Manila, one of the top travel blogs in the Philippines. He has visited all 82 provinces in the Philippines and has explored 53 countries across Asia, North & South America, East Africa, Europe, and Australia. Follow him on IG at @escapemanila